THE LONE RANGER
The Lone Ranger is a masked Texas Ranger in the American Old West, who gallops about righting injustices with the aid of his clever, laconic Indian sidekick, Tonto. Departing on his white horse Silver, the Ranger would famously say "Hi-yo, Silver, away!" as the horse galloped toward the setting sun. He was created by George W. Trendle and developed by writer Fran Striker.Character biography
Originally, the character's true identity was not revealed, though it was hinted that behind the mask he might be a historical Western hero (such as Wild Bill Hickok). Then, after a preliminary version of the character's now-standard origin appeared in the Republic movie serial of 1938 and elements of that story were worked into the radio series, the hero was revealed to be a Texas Ranger named Reid, who was one of six Texas Rangers chasing the Cavendish Gang. After entering a canyon known as "Bryant's Gap," the party finds itself in a murderous ambush arranged by Butch Cavendish, leader of the "Hole in the Wall Gang" and a man named Collins, who has infiltrated the Rangers for the gang as a scout, that seemingly leaves every ranger dead. Then Cavendish shoots Collins in the back, reasoning that someone who would betray the Rangers could also betray his gang.
Reid's childhood friend, a Native American known as Tonto (his tribe was seldom specified, but some books say he was probably supposed to be an Apache, while the radio programs identified him as a Potawatomi), comes upon the massacre and discovers Reid is still alive. Tonto takes him to safety and nurses him back to health. Tonto reminds Reid of when they were young, and Reid had rescued Tonto after renegade Indians had murdered his mother and sister and left him for dead. Reid gave him a horse, and Tonto insisted that Reid accept a ring. It is by this ring that Tonto recognizes Reid.
(As originally presented, in the Dec. 7, 1938, radio broadcast, Reid had already been well-established as the Lone Ranger when he met Tonto. In that episode, "Cactus Pete," a friend of the Lone Ranger tells the story of how the masked man and Tonto first met. According to that tale, Tonto had been caught in the explosion when two men dynamited a gold mine they were working. One of the men wanted to kill the wounded Tonto, but the Lone Ranger arrived on the scene, and made him administer first aid. The man subsequently decided to keep Tonto around, intending to make him the fall guy when he would later murder his partner. The Lone Ranger foiled both the attempted murder and the attempted framing of Tonto. No reason was given in the episode as to why Tonto chose to travel with the Lone Ranger rather than continue about his business. A reasonable assumption would be that he felt a sense of gratitude to the man.)
While Reid recovers, Tonto buries the dead rangers. Reid vows to bring the killers and others like them to justice. So he asks Tonto to dig a sixth grave so people will believe that he too is dead. But Collins is also still alive, and tries to kill the pair so he can take Tonto's horse, Scout. But he falls to his death while trying to drop a rock on Reid. Thus perished the only other man who knew that Reid survived.
By happenstance, the pair discovers a magnificent white stallion, wounded by a buffalo. Reid and Tonto nurse the stallion back to health, and Reid then adopts the stallion as his mount, training him to respond to the name of Silver. Whenever the Ranger mounts Silver, he shouts, "Hi-yo, Silver! Away!" Besides sounding dramatic, this shout originally served to tell the radio audience that a riding sequence was about to start.
They also find an old mentor of Reid's, who had discovered a lost silver mine, called "The Lone Star Mine," some time back. Reid's mentor is the only one other than Tonto who knows the identity of the Lone Ranger, and he is willing to work it and supply Reid and Tonto with as much silver as they want. Using material from his dead brother's Texas Ranger vest, Reid fashions the mask that will mark him as the Lone Ranger. In addition, the Lone Ranger decides to use only silver bullets--the precious and valuable metal serves to remind the masked man that life, too, is extremely precious and valuable, and, like his silver bullets, not to be wasted or thrown away. Vowing to fight for justice and never to shoot to kill, together, the Lone Ranger and Tonto wander the Old American West helping people and fighting injustice where they find it. During these adventures, Tonto often referred to the Ranger as "ke-mo sah-bee," also spelled "quimo sabe," a phrase he said meant "faithful friend" or "trusty scout" in his tribe's language.
The Lone Ranger displayed, in the adventures, that he was also a master of disguise. At times, he would infiltrate an area using the identity of "Old Prospector," an old-time miner with a full beard, so that he can go places where a young masked man would never fit in, usually to gather intelligence about criminal activities.
According to "The Legend of Silver," a radio episode broadcast September 30, 1938, before acquiring Silver, the Lone Ranger rode a chestnut mare called Dusty. After Dusty was killed by a criminal that Reid and Tonto were tracking, Reid saved Silver's life from an enraged buffalo, and in gratitude Silver chose to give up his wild life to carry him. Silver's sire was called Sylvan, and his dam was Musa.
The origin of Tonto's horse, Scout, is less clear. For a long time, Tonto rode a white horse called White Feller. In the episode titled "Four Day Ride," which aired August 5, 1938, Tonto is given a paint horse by his friend, Chief Thundercloud, who then takes and cares for White Feller. Tonto rides this horse, and simply refers to him as "Paint Horse," for several episodes. The horse is finally named Scout in the episode "Border Dope Smuggling," which was broadcast on September 2, 1938. In another episode, the lingering question of Tonto's mode of transport was resolved when the pair found a secluded valley and the Lone Ranger, in an urge of conscience, released Silver back to the wild. The episode ends with Silver returning to the Ranger, bringing along a companion who becomes Tonto's horse, Scout.
In Spanish, "Tonto," which translates from the Spanish as "stupid" or "dumb," is named "Toro" (Spanish for "bull") while "The Paint Horse" is always named "Pinto" (a Spanish word to refer to any "paint animal" in particular).The Lone Ranger's name
Although the Lone Ranger's last name was given as Reid, his first name was not revealed. According to the story told in the radio series, the group of six ambushed rangers was headed by Reid's brother, Captain Dan Reid. Some later radio reference books, beginning with The Big Broadcast in the 1970s, erroneously claimed that the Lone Ranger's first name was John; however, both the radio and television programs avoided use of his first name. Some say that Captain Reid's first name was also avoided, but the name Dan did appear in a phonograph record story of the Lone Ranger's origin, featuring the radio cast, issued in the early 1950s and in a miniature comic book issued in connection with the TV show. At least one newspaper obituary upon Fran Striker's 1961 death and a 1964 Gold Key Comics retelling of the origin both stated that the Lone Ranger's given name, rather than his brother's, was "Dan Reid," not "John." It appears that the first use of the name "John Reid" was in a scene in which the surviving Reid creates an extra grave for himself among those of his fallen Ranger companions. It must be acknowledged that the use of the first name John in the 1981 big-screen film, The Legend Of The Lone Ranger, gave it a degree of official standing, although the completely different names found in the 2003 TV-movie/unsold series pilot undercuts that. The name of Captain Reid's son, and the Ranger's nephew, a later character who became a sort of juvenile sidekick to the Masked Man, was also Dan Reid.The Lone Ranger creed
In every incarnation of the character to date, the Lone Ranger has conducted himself by a strict moral code. This code was put in place by Fran Striker at the inception of the character. Actors Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels, taking their positions as role models to children very seriously, also tried their best to live by this creed."I believe.....
That to have a friend, a man must be one.
That all men are created equal and that everyone has within himself the power to make this a better world.
That God put the firewood there, but that every man must gather and light it himself.
In being prepared physically, mentally, and morally to fight when necessary for that which is right.
That a man should make the most of what equipment he has.
That 'this government of the people, by the people, and for the people' shall live always.
That men should live by the rule of what is best for the greatest number.
That sooner or later...somewhere...somehow...we must settle with the world and make payment for what we have taken.
That all things change but truth, and that truth alone, lives on forever.
In my Creator, my country, my fellow man."
In addition, in order to ensure that their character remain constant and true to their theory, Fran Striker and George W. Trendle drew up these guidelines and list of rules which embody who and what the Lone Ranger is and why he has remained a hero and a legend:
* The Lone Ranger is never seen without his mask or a disguise.
* With emphasis on logic, The Lone Ranger is never captured or held for any length of time by lawmen, avoiding his being unmasked.
* At all times, The Lone Ranger uses perfect grammar and precise speech completely devoid of slang and colloquial phrases.
* When he has to use guns, The Lone Ranger never shoots to kill, but rather only to disarm his opponent as painlessly as possible.
* Logically, too, The Lone Ranger never wins against hopeless odds; i.e., he is never seen escaping from a barrage of bullets merely by riding into the horizon.
* Even though The Lone Ranger offers his aid to individuals or small groups, the ultimate objective of his story is to imply that their benefit is only a by-product of a greater achievement--the development of the west or our country. His adversaries are usually groups whose power is such that large areas are at stake.
* All adversaries are American to avoid criticism from minority groups.
* Names of unsympathetic characters are carefully chosen, avoiding the use of two names as much as possible to avoid even further vicarious association. More often than not, a single nickname is selected.
* The Lone Ranger does not drink or smoke, and saloon scenes are usually interpreted as cafes, with waiters and food instead of bartenders and liquor.